Aurora to sell 85% interest in US lithium asset

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) has executed a term sheet to sell an 85% interest in its namesake lithium project in Oregon, US to Macro Metals (ASX:M4M), formerly called Kogi Iron. 

Aurora will retain the remaining 15% interest and 100% of the non-lithium rights, to focus on the development of its Aurora Uranium deposit.  

Macro has been granted an exclusive 3-month option period to conduct due diligence and complete formal documentation for a fee of $50,000. The option period may be extended by mutual agreement for a further 3 months through an additional option fee payment. 

If the option is exercised, Macro will issue Aurora just over 666 million ordinary shares at a deemed issue price of $0.003 (equivalent to 20% of the Macro shares on issue post transaction) plus an additional 666 million options (in 3 equal tranches exercisable at $0.008, $0.012, and $0.016 all within 5 years).

Aurora will be free carried on lithium expenditure on the project until the completion of a positive Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) on the project.  

Aurora Managing Director Greg Cochran, who is expected to speak at this year’s Global Uranium Conference in Adelaide on 16 November, says this deal allows the company to focus on its uranium deposit during a time of record-high prices. 

“The proposed transaction with Macro allows Aurora to focus on the development of our advanced, large-scale, and well-defined uranium deposit, whilst retaining leverage to the increased value of lithium exploration via our significant shareholding in Macro post-transaction.”

Macro Metals Non-Executive Chairman Peter Huljich says the deal offers a drill-proven opportunity situated within the US’ largest lithium province — the McDermitt Caldera — which is host to both Lithium America’s (TSX:LCA) Thacker Pass and Jindalee Resources (ASX:JRL) McDermitt Lithium Project.

Lithium mineralisation is found in soft lakebed sediments above and surrounding the Aurora Energy Metals Uranium Project in southeast Oregon.

Macro notes the deal follows lithium-focused drilling which returned lithium grades up to 1,663 parts per million (ppm) and confirmed the presence of lithium mineralisation over an area of more than 1,500m by 2,000m, with mineralisation open in all directions.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

Aurora on development pathway amid uranium bull run

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) is on a pathway to development as the minnow hopes to emerge with a ‘mine of the future’ as the uranium sector enjoys 15-year price highs amid a touted bull market.

In what is being reported as a ‘blistering bull run’ for uranium – the radioactive element used to produce nuclear energy – the sectors looks to be on track for a record annual gain as the world transitions towards decarbonisation.

The Sprott Uranium Miners Exchange-Traded Fund (URNM) has increased about 42% in 2023, which is higher than the 40% rise seen in the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index.

The price of uranium is up 55% this year and last week it reached US$74.50 per pound, which is the highest level since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008. Comparatively, uranium spot prices climbed 50% in the first 4 months of 2022 when it hit $63.60/lb with the gain mostly attributed to Russia’s then newly launched war against Ukraine.

Amid this backdrop, Aurora Energy Metals will descend on the Global Uranium Conference from 15-16 November 2023 at Adelaide Convention Centre amid a trading halt pending the release of an announcement.

Managing Director Greg Cochran will be presenting at the event. The uranium hopeful is also the official networking closing drinks sponsor where the MD says delegates will have the opportunity to interact with global leaders in the uranium, nuclear, energy, and decarbonisation sectors.

In his presentation, Cochran will be addressing a hypothetical question: “Is a mine of the future achievable today?”

The request for a trading halt last week came ahead of Aurora’s annual general meeting, which will be held in Subiaco in Western Australia on 23 November 2023.

The company’s flagship project, the Aurora Energy Metals Project (AEMP), is on a pathway to development. Aurora plans to continue uranium Scoping Study work during the current quarter, including an ongoing metallurgical testwork program at ALS Metallurgy in Perth.

Aurora will also conduct further mining and infrastructure-related trade-off studies.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Managing Editor Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

Aurora Energy in trading halt pending announcement

Uranium hopeful Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) has requested a trading halt pending the release of an announcement.

The uranium mining company will remain in trading halt until 13 November 2023 or when the announcement is released to the market.

The request for a trading halt comes just ahead of Aurora’s annual general meeting, which will be held in Subiaco in Western Australia on 23 November 2023.

At the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney last week Managing Director Greg Cochran told attendees that the company’s flagship project, the Aurora Energy Metals Project (AEMP), is on a pathway to development.

Aurora plans to continue uranium Scoping Study work during the December 2023 quarter, including an ongoing metallurgical testwork program at ALS Metallurgy in Perth. 

The company will also conduct further mining and infrastructure-related trade-off studies. Project permitting will advance during the quarter with the planned completion of a biological survey.

Aurora has dedicated Q3 2023 to de-risking its namesake project in southern Oregon in the US as the uranium market continues to tighten and the spot price moves up. 

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Managing Editor Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

Aurora Energy Metals hits the ground running in Oregon

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) has officially begun a Scoping Study for its namesake project in Oregon, US. Managing Director Greg Cochran tells Mining.com.au the company has an ‘unusual opportunity’ with the USA’s largest mineable measured and indicated uranium deposit, with expectations of a production rate in excess of a million pounds.

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Joining Mining.com.au from the West Coast, finance presenter Carolyn began her journalism degree in Townsville and developed a passion for mining news after a FIFO stint in WA's Goldfields.

Aurora looking to usher in PFS

Explorer and developer Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) is looking to complete ‘scoping-level’ metallurgical testwork to support a potential Prefeasibility Study (PFS) for its namesake project in Oregon, US. 

Aurora has appointed ALS Metallurgy to complete the testwork program, which will focus on beneficiation and leach testwork, as well as optimisation to enable flowsheet development, design, and costing for an Aurora Project Scoping Study. 

It is Aurora’s belief that the results generated from this work, which are expected in the December quarter, will inform future decision-making pertaining to PFS- and then Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS)-level testwork programs.  

The $12.53 million market capitalisation company reports scrubbing and wet screening have delivered ‘promising’ results, demonstrating the uranium mineralisation at its Aurora Energy Metals Project in Oregon can be upgraded. 

This belief is supported by previous tests, which demonstrated up to 30% of the run-of-mine (ROM) feed could be rejected with only a small loss of uranium, therefore ‘significantly’ improving the efficiency and economics of the leach circuit.  

Commenting on the testwork program, Aurora’s Managing Director, Greg Cochran, says: “We’re looking forward to working with ALS on this very important testwork program which will enable us to design and price various flowsheet options for the Scoping Study. 

The completion of the Scoping Study itself is at the top of our list of priorities so that we can demonstrate the true potential of this large, well-defined uranium deposit

The completion of the Scoping Study itself is at the top of our list of priorities so that we can demonstrate the true potential of this large, well-defined uranium deposit. We also recognise the importance of permitting to further de-risk the Aurora Project, and we are working closely with our environmental consultants to finalise the scope of the Exploration Plan of Operations.”

Aurora Energy Metals is an explorer and developer focused on its wholly owned flagship namesake project in southeast Oregon. 

The project currently boasts the country’s ‘largest’ mineable measured and indicated uranium deposit, which holds a Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 107.3 million tonnes at 214 parts per million triuranium octoxide (U3O8) for 50.6 million pounds U3O8. 

Aurora Energy Metals had $3.5 million cash at hand with no debt as of 30 June 2023 following the completion of a $2.7 million placement, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

Aurora Energy Metals: a shining light on a clear pathway to development in the US

This article is a sponsored feature from Mining.com.au partner Aurora Energy Metals Ltd. It is not financial advice. Talk to a registered financial expert before making investment decisions.

“Sometimes it’s just serendipity that presents you with a competitive advantage and in our case, we benefit from infrastructure that was established to support a relatively small but significant mining industry that lasted some 75 years.”

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) is advancing its flagship Aurora Energy Metals Project (AEMP) in south-eastern Oregon in the US.

Managing Director Greg Cochran and his team are taking advantage of certain opportunities that are beneficial to its Aurora Project. However, he acknowledges that some of these opportunities arose via serendipity, but the pathway to development is paved with hard work and sound strategic planning.

With over 30 years’ experience in international technical and commercial roles and plenty of skin in the game with uranium, Cochran knows better than most that by not capitalising on such opportunities is tantamount to failure.

He says unique features of AEMP range from the scale of the asset to its proximity to important infrastructure in a ‘uranium friendly’ mining jurisdiction. The MD tells Mining.com.au that although Aurora has proven lithium is present in overlying sediments by recent drilling – “the reality is we are 100% focused on our uranium project”.

“After all, it is a very well-defined resource and is actually the largest mineable, measured and indicated uranium deposit in the USA”

“After all, it is a very well-defined resource and is actually the largest mineable, measured and indicated uranium deposit in the USA.”

The AEMP Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) currently stands at 107.3 million tonnes @ 214 parts per million U3O8 for 50.6 million pounds U3O8 with a shallow ‘high-grade’ core of 18Mt @ 485ppm U3O8 for 19.2Mlbs U3O8.

Aurora Australis

Aurora is one of a handful Australian ASX-listed uranium explorers operating in the US, but its project has the largest mineable, measured and indicated uranium resource amongst them.

The company is in the midst of a multi-phase program targeting the completion of uranium feasibility studies and advancing permitting to de-risk its advanced stage project.

Cochran notes they’re assessing ways to accelerate the Scoping Study, which just commenced with a metallurgical testwork program that is projected to be completed by year-end. Depending on that outcome, a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) is planned to be completed during 2024. However, expanding the scope of the current study means a PFS could potentially be wrapped up earlier.

The company’s environmental consultants have commenced their engagement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon to compile an Exploration Plan of Operations (EPO). This is an important step as it defines what baseline studies, such as environmental and cultural studies, must be undertaken. These studies also lay a foundation for a future mine operating permit, which is why it is seen as an important de-risking step.

DRA Global, an ASX-listed international engineering firm with excellent uranium experience, has been engaged to manage the metallurgical testwork program. The testwork will enable the development of the flowsheet, which is currently at the concept level, whilst different transport methods to get the ore from the open pit to plant will also be assessed. Cochran is adamant that they can avoid trucking and can rather rely on conveying or pumping, which would take advantage of the hydroelectricity power line that feeds a substation close to where the plant is planned to be located, on private land in Nevada.

With a clear pathway to development front of mind, Cochran and his team are thinking well ahead in terms of when to commence discussions with potential strategic offtake partners (should it take that route) and prospective financiers.

“We see the Scoping Study as the trigger for that engagement. I have started to put out feelers, but all I want to achieve in the next 5 or 6 months or so whilst we’re doing the Scoping study is to introduce ourselves to some US utilities. In addition to that, I want to start introducing ourselves to people at the federal level of politics in the US, as we have already done at the state level in Oregon.”

The MD says with such engagement the important messages to be conveyed are about the Project’s scale, advanced status and Aurora’s development strategy.

“Now is not the time for us to be raising our hand for the sort of loan funding that some other ASX companies have already successfully obtained, it’s premature”

“Now is not the time for us to be raising our hand for the sort of loan funding that some other ASX companies have already successfully obtained, it’s premature. We aren’t at that stage, but we’re going to at least be opening the door to introduce ourselves, as step one, and once the Scoping Study is out, we hope those conversations will become more serious.”

Cochran and the company’s board all have extensive experience in progressing projects through the various development phases. Cochran also has a lot of uranium experience, having managed the Australia-Asia portfolio for Uranium One & also having been MD at Deep Yellow for almost six years.

Serendipity – a natural electrical phenomenon

The AEMP is located in Oregon, a location that has significant infrastructure in place that will help facilitate development. With the world’s largest nuclear power fleet and a lack of domestic uranium production, Aurora is well placed to become a local supplier of choice to the US.

The MD says the fundamental strengths of the project itself is a well-defined resource, low geological risk, existing infrastructure, including hydroelectricity (which means clean, green, cost effective and reliable power), existing sealed and unsealed roads, and a small town nearby which is on a major interstate route.

It also has favourable, gently undulating topography and a mild climate by US standards.

“So immediately one sees this opportunity that thanks to a little serendipity we have the potential to deliver green uranium. And it’s one of the best opportunities out there given the inherent competitive advantages.

Sometimes it’s just serendipity that presents you with a competitive advantage and in our case, we benefit from infrastructure that was established to support a relatively small but significant mining industry that lasted some 75 years.”

 “Sometimes it’s just serendipity that presents you with a competitive advantage…”

At the crux of it, the company has what it calls “a clear pathway to development”.

Aurora believes that the optimal way forward is to mine in Oregon and process in Nevada. Nevada is preferred because it is acknowledged as a leading mining jurisdiction.

Cochran says: “But we’ve gone even better than just being in Nevada –we’re on private land, less than 10 kilometres from the deposit, which is known to be  a distinct advantage.”

He adds that operating in this part of North America, Aurora can tap into a community that was developed in a mining environment. He says in such a mining territory, locals that live in the community, as well as on the nearby reservation, are no strangers to the sector – “many of them work in mines further away”.

Unlike many FIFO mining operations in Australia, if Aurora develops this project then people can return to the wider McDermitt community and will not have work away from home for days or sometimes even weeks at a time.

He reiterates that the US is ‘uranium friendly’, borne out of the nation’s widespread acceptance of nuclear power. A recent poll shows public support approaching 80% – the highest it’s ever been.

The US is also almost entirely reliant on uranium imports to supply its large reactor fleet, which supply half of the country’s clean energy. Last year, almost half of the country’s uranium came from former eastern bloc countries.

Cochran adds: “By comparison, many Australians and left leaning politicians naively believe that we do not need nuclear power for our energy security and to achieve our climate goals. Poorly scoped, or perhaps even biased public research perpetuates this myth and as a result the industry frankly gets messed around here to serve very short-term political goals, with no foundation in science or fact. Just look at WA and Queensland Labor, which banned uranium mining when they came into power which is in direct conflict with federal Labor’s policy.”

Understanding utilities

There seems to be evidence that the market is becoming more stressed and we saw that during the June quarter there was an increase in buying activity from US utilities, as well as financial speculators, with several making new forays into the market.

At the same time, the uranium market continued to strengthen during Q2 2023, with the spot price increasing from US$50.35 per pound to US$56.20/lb, peaking at US$57.75/lb.

In June, the World Nuclear Fuels Market held its 49th Annual Meeting and International Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, somewhat appropriately themed – ‘Mind the Gap’. The theme acknowledged how changes in the global energy landscape over the past few years, driven by geopolitical uncertainty, a demand for greater accountability for net-zero targets and energy crises experienced in various parts of the world due to failed energy policies, are having a significant effect on supply and demand across the nuclear fuel cycle.

Cochran says for Aurora, this highlights the importance of putting feelers out with utilities early and to develop a better understanding of that market.

“When it comes to US utilities, the buyers historically have not necessarily been uranium miners’ friends and that’s not a criticism.

They’re good at what they do and they had a choice of where they could source their uranium from. And during the previous boom leading up to 2007 there was real upward pressure on the uranium price they were caught somewhat off guard by various supply-related issues and so over-contracted.

If you think about it in mining terms, uranium is just a reagent to fuel your nuclear plant  but of course it’s an absolutely essential reagent because without it you can’t operate. So, buyers diversify their risk by diversifying their sources of supply as well as the nature of their contracts, by varying the volume, the price, the delivery schedule and the length of the contract.

Uranium offtake contracts can be quite complex but it is a well-honed process. That being said, it is estimated that as much as 25% of US demand over the next 10 years remains uncovered and therefore the nature of offtake contracts is changing.”

Uranium bull run

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the vast majority of uranium delivered in the US in 2021 and 2022 was of foreign origin. Uranium inventory held by US brokers and traders continues to grow and the Sprott Uranium Fund now holds about 65 million pounds of uranium.

Cochran says amid this backdrop the uranium price continues on a gradual upward trajectory.

“Today we’re in what has been labelled as the uranium market’s third bull run, which is a result of the need for greater energy security and to address climate change. Under investment in uranium production capacity, mothballing of existing capacity, inflationary pressures and the Russia-Ukraine war have caused a large uranium shortfall, which is growing every year.

“Today we’re in what has been labelled as the uranium market’s third bull run…”

The production shortfall started to grow after operational (and investment) cutbacks were made post Fukushima. However, demand also declined for a while and we saw inventories increase dramatically, but that has been turned around by the factors I mentioned earlier, and of course the entry into the market of funds holding physical uranium.”

While the US is a world leader in nuclear energy and  could be looking to triple nuclear capacity by 2050 there hasn’t been a nuclear reactor built in the region for some time.

Cochran says that Assistant Secretary of the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy Kathryn Huff has certainly alluded to a need for at least the doubling of capacity to achieve the country’s clean energy goals. To this end, the US has mobilised a large amount of funding – importantly with bipartisan support – to achieve these goals.

“Actually the good news is that Vogtle 3 has just started generating electricity for its customers in Georgia, the first large reactor to be commissioned in 3 decades, and Vogtle 4 is going through its final trials so it will soon be in action as well. They’re 1,100MW reactors and will operate cleanly, safely, and sustainably for the next 60 to 80 years.

As far as uranium mining, the US lost its leading position in the 1980s and has in fact produced very little uranium over the past 5 or 10 years. However, just like lithium and other battery minerals, the US urgently wants to establish a reliable domestic uranium supply backed up with greater involvement in the rest of the nuclear supply chain as well.

“That is a perfect storm for aspiring producers like Aurora, especially because we have a very large, well defined uranium resource with access to infrastructure”

That is a perfect storm for aspiring producers like Aurora, especially because we have a very large, well defined uranium resource with access to infrastructure.”

It seems that Aurora is sailing ahead nicely and navigating its way toward development.

Cochran reiterates that globally, the US is the largest uranium market due to having the world’s largest nuclear fleet, which is likely to continue until the anticipated crossover point with China, currently forecast for about 2030.

Yet the key issue remains the responsible mining of uranium to meet a significant percentage of the USA’s requirements, which means the mines that need to come online must have scale.

“Historically, hundreds of small operations mined uranium ore in the US and trucked it to the nearest plant, which left massive environmental legacies. Clearly, uranium must be mined responsibly and that requires scale. ISR operations can be smaller, but a conventional open pit operation needs to be of scale to carry your overheads. I’d suggest one million pounds per annum is the absolute minimum.”

Aurora’s gathering momentum

During the June quarter, DRA Global was appointed for the next phase of testwork and Aurora also advanced permitting-related and other project activities. A $2.7 million placement was also undertaken with funds to be used to complete metallurgical testwork and the Scoping Study.

The company is consulting widely on technical and permitting matters to obtain guidance  on how best to take the project forward, which includes all the aspects one would expect such as mining, processing and the assessment of different ore transport methods from the open pit to plant. Permitting is also key to de-risking the project and the scoping of the so-called exploration plan of operations is well advanced.

“We’re still sticking to our goal of wrapping up a PFS by the end of next year – the end of 2024″

“We’re still sticking to our goal of wrapping up a PFS by the end of next year – the end of 2024. But if we broaden our scope of what we’re doing now, that may alleviate some of the pressure on the PFS.”

In closing, Cochran was asked about the company’s plans to address its lithium prospectivity. He agreed that it is a somewhat unique feature of the AEMP that it has two attractive minerals in different geological horizons. The uranium mineralisation is generally hosted in the volcanics, whilst the overlying and surrounding lakebed sediments have been shown from recent drilling to contain lithium.

Aurora is totally focused on its uranium as it is such a compelling story, however it will consider allowing a credible partner to fund lithium exploration on its claims to advance that component of the Company’s overall potential.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Managing Editor Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

Aurora Energy Metals to undertake uranium metallurgical testwork at Perth lab

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) during the September 2023 quarter plans to undertake uranium metallurgical testwork at a laboratory in Perth, focused on beneficiation of existing core and follow-up leach trials as a part of its Scoping Study.

The $10.56 million market capitalisation company is advancing its Aurora Energy Metals Project (AEMP) with the current, multi-phase program focused on completing uranium feasibility studies and permitting on its flagship project.

It also aims to define a lithium mineral resource in the soft lakebed sediments that overly and surround the uranium deposit.

The company in the September quarter will also advance project permitting by completing the first phase of a cultural survey and holding kick-of meetings with the US Bureau of Land Management, while also seeking to conduct more mining and infrastructure related preparatory work for the AEMP Scoping Study.

Aurora continues to advance and de-risk its flagship namesake project in south-eastern Oregon, US and will soon engage with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to compile an Exploration Plan of Operations (EPO).

During the June quarter, the company released significant results from the independent review of historic metallurgical testwork, the appointment of DRA Global for the next phase of testwork and the advancement of various permitting-related and other project activities.

In preparation for the AEMP uranium Scoping Study, a mining team visited the project in May 2023 to review options for the overall site layout and proposed transportation corridor. The visit confirmed that the overall site landscape would readily allow for establishing a mine and associated infrastructure.

The company says early stage planning has identified options for drainage management. One option is to establish the waste dump ‘above’ the open pit with drainage channels to divert runoff away from the pit crest and utilise the naturally undulating landscape.

Along the transport corridor, the natural drainage will ensure reliable year-round access to the operation. The proposed plant site, situated on private land in Nevada, is well located with safe and easy access to the town of McDermitt for supplies and workforce transport.

During the quarter a global consultancy was engaged to supply benchmark cost data. The pit optimisation will include relevant inputs and constraints in relation to the expected location of mine site infrastructure, offices, workshops, and stockpiles, as identified during the site visit.

A project schedule and costs will be developed at a level of confidence in-line with a standard Scoping Study.

Aurora is de-risking the AEMP by advancing permitting in parallel with ongoing technical studies. The next step in the permitting process is to engage with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon to compile an Exploration Plan of Operations (EPO). The company’s environmental consultants are working with Aurora to finalise the area to be covered and work program to be completed.

A project schedule and costs will be developed at a level of confidence in-line with a standard Scoping Study

Once approval is obtained from the BLM, the company reports that environmental and cultural baseline studies can be undertaken. Given the seasonal nature of biological studies, the preparation of an EPO typically takes one year and once approved by the BLM, more intensive activities at site such as geotechnical and hydrological studies and bulk sampling can be conducted.

The company has already commenced part of the cultural studies with the prior approval of the BLM and the first phase will soon be completed.

Meanwhile, a $2.7 million placement was undertaken during the quarter to new and existing institutional, professional, and sophisticated investors. Funds will be used to complete uranium metallurgical testwork and the Scoping Study on the AEMP uranium deposit.

The Aurora uranium deposit is now acknowledged to be the largest mineable, measured and indicated uranium deposit in the US.

The company’s consolidated cash at hand was $3.5 million as of 30 June 2023 with no debt.

The majority of the expenditure during the quarter was on exploration and evaluation $384,000, staff costs $132,000 and admin and corporate costs $156,000.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Managing Editor Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

Aurora Energy Metals uncovers thick zones of lithium and uranium mineralisation at namesake project in Oregon

Australian exploration and development company Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) has discovered ‘thick’ zones of lithium  and uranium  mineralisation following a maiden reverse circulation (RC) and diamond drilling (DD) program at its namesake project in Oregon, US. 

The results, generated by 17 drillholes comprising 12 RC and 5 DD holes, have returned the presence of uranium mineralisation outside of the current Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), as well as wide zones of lithium bearing clays at the Aurora Energy Metals Project.

Key results include hole 22AUD001 with 34.1m @ 610 parts per million (ppm) eU3O8 from 151m; hole 22AURC004 with 19.8m @ 1,298ppm Li (0.28% Li2O) from 27.4m; and hole 22AURC002 with 19.8m @ 1,206ppm Li (0.26% Li2O) from 51.8m. 

The company says diamond hole 22AUDD001 represents the closest hole to historic hole AUD028, which returned an intercept of 45.7m @ 488ppm U3O8.   

Drilling was conducted to target potential for an extension of mineralisation to the northwest of the existing Aurora Uranium deposit, and test areas interpreted to host lithium mineralisation in deeper lakebed sediments.   

All remaining chemical assays are expected to be completed by the end of January this year. 

Speaking on the results, Aurora Energy Metals’ Managing Director Greg Cochran says: “These are good results that confirm our targeting objectives. The uranium results are consistent with the existing resource but show the potential for further extensions. 

“These are good results that confirm our targeting objectives”

The lithium results are proof of concept showing widespread lithium in clays at potentially economic grades, very similar to the giant deposits elsewhere in the McDermitt Caldera.”

The company also notes it recorded multiple intervals returning >350ppm eU3O8 outside of the existing MRE, and that results delivered from the diamond tail of hole 22AURC00DT, which was also conducted outside of the MRE, also demonstrated intervals similar to those seen in the current resource. 

Aurora Energy Metals is an ASX-listed company with a vision of supplying minerals that are critical to the energy transition in the US. 

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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

Aurora Energy Metals set to drill for uranium and lithium in Oregon, USA

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) reports it is preparing to commence phase one reverse circulation drilling at its namesake project in Oregon, USA, targeting lithium and uranium.

The company states this will be the first drilling at the project in a decade, and it expects to start the program next week.

The 17 hole drilling program of around 3,400m received approval from the Bureau of Land Management earlier this year, and Aurora has been advised by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) that it is finalising documentation for the issue of the permit next week.

The location of the holes and the defined DOGAMI Phase One Project Area is a subset of a larger planned exploration drilling program consisting of 47 RC holes and 21 diamond drill holes for the 2022 to 2023 financial year, and phase one drilling is expected to be complete in December with assays to be submitted progressively with results expected in December.

The program will target uranium and lithium mineralisation, with the first 8 priority holes focused northwest of the existing Aurora Uranium Deposit.

We are excited about the prospect of commencing our first drilling campaign since listing on the ASX just 5 months ag”

Aurora decided to commence in this area based on uranium intersections from the 5 most northern holes drilled in the Company’s 2011 diamond drilling exploration program, which delivered ‘shallow, thick high-grade’ results.

Aurora Managing Director Greg Cochran said the company is thrilled to start commencing drilling at the project.

“We are excited about the prospect of commencing our first drilling campaign since listing on the ASX just 5 months ago.

“Importantly we have developed a clearer understanding of the expectations of the various regulatory bodies involved in permitting these programs, which should make the process smoother in the future.”.

The Midnight Sun Drilling company has been engaged as the drill contractor, and its team is currently mobilising to Aurora’s recently acquired exploration base in McDermitt, Nevada.

Aurora adopted a phased permitting approach to adhere to DOGAMI’s 640 acre project area restriction, and recently submitted an amended exploration permit application to BLM incorporating all the remaining holes of the 2022 to 2023 financial year program.

The application was amended to accommodate recommendations made during the heritage survey completed in September.

Previous lithium intersections recorded by the 2011 drilling program includes 19.2m @ 1,161ppm eU3O8 in hole AUD028, and 40.2m @ 672ppm eU3O8 and 27.3m @ 1,164ppm Li from AUD028.

The company says the lithium is located in the lakebed sediments overlying the uranium.

Aurora’s share price has also jumped on the ASX, growing 17.647% to $0.200 as of 11am AWST.

Aurora Energy Metals is an exploration and development company focused on its Aurora Energy Metals Project, located in Oregon in the United States.

The project has a defined uranium mineral resource of 69.3Mt @ 248ppm eU3O8 for 37.9 million pounds of uranium, with known lithium mineralisation in lakebed sediments above and surrounding the deposit.

Aurora’s vision is to supply minerals that are critical to the energy transition. 

Images: Aurora Energy Metals Limited
Written By Harry Mulholland
Hailing from the Central Coast region of NSW, Harry is a passionate journalist with a background in print, radio and ESG news. When not bashing away on his keyboard, he can be found brewing a coffee or playing with his dog.

Aurora Energy Metals confirms lithium mineralisation at flagship Aurora Uranium Deposit

Aurora Energy Metals (ASX: 1AE) has reported encouraging lithium assay results from an historic 2011 drilling program at its 100%-owned Aurora Energy Metals Project in south-eastern Oregon, USA.

The results, generated from sampling from an additional 15 of its 32-hole 2011 PQ drilling campaign, have intersected ‘significant’ zones of lithium mineralisation, building on previously reported intercepts.

Key grades (cut-off 1,000 ppm Li) include:

  • AUD013: 7.3m @ 2,431ppm Li from 50.3m, and 8.2m @ 1,411ppm Li from 63.1m
  • AUD014: 2.7m @ 1,753ppm Li from 19.2m
  • AUD015: 6.4m @ 2,145ppm Li from 25.6m
  • AUD016: 5.5m @ 1,884ppm Li from 30.2m
  • AUD018: 6.4m @ 2,009ppm Li from 97.8m
  • AUD030: 9.1m @ 2,414ppm Li from 21.9m, and 17.4m @ 1,350ppm Li from 43.0m

Commenting on the results, 1AE Managing Director Greg Cochran said: “We’re glad to have received further confirmation of the lithium potential of our Aurora Energy Metals Project and we’re looking forward to the next phase, where we will be drill-testing areas that are known to have thicker lakebed sediments.

“We’re glad to have received further confirmation of the lithium potential of our Aurora Energy Metals Project”

The plans for that program are essentially complete and permitting for the first phase of drilling are well advanced.”

The company also notes that these assays are comparable to results released by Jindalee Resources (ASX: JRL) from the neighbouring McDermitt Lithium Project, noted as one of the USA’s largest lithium deposits.

In addition, the results indicate that sediments are reported to thicken in every direction beyond the Aurora Uranium Deposit and also bode well for an upcoming lithium exploration program.

Map of the Aurora Energy Metals Project displaying new lithium assays in blue
Map of the Aurora Energy Metals Project displaying new lithium assays in blue. Image: Aurora Energy Metals Limited

The Aurora Energy Metals Project is located southeast Oregon, United States and boasts an existing uranium Mineral Resource of 69.3Mt @ 248ppm eU3O8 for 37.9Mlb eU3O8.

The project is within close proximity to two other major lithium projects, as well as Tesla’s Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada.

With assays finalised and returned, the company reports that it will plan future exploration programs to test the graben and thicker sediments to the south-west of the Aurora Uranium Deposit.

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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.